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Windows 10 is all about security. Microsoft recently instructed its partners that in sales, Windows 10’s security features should be the primary focus. How does Windows 10 live up to this promise?

We show you the 7 key Windows 10 security features and how you can take advantage of them.

1. Windows Update

At its core, the purpose of Windows Update is to keep your system secure and functional. Through this gateway, you regularly receive fixes that resolve issues and patch holes. Microsoft provides security patches throughout the support lifecycle of the operating system Why to Upgrade Windows at the End of Extended Support Why to Upgrade Windows at the End of Extended Support Eventually, support for every Windows version expires, leaving PCs full of holes, entry points for malware, and opportunities for hackers. Windows 8 recently reached end of support status - we show you why and how... Read More .

Windows Support Lifecycle

In the past, this meant that Windows versions would eventually stop receiving updates. With Windows 10, Windows Update is also used to deliver version upgrades to the operating system, such as the recent upgrade from Windows 10 version 1511 to version 1607 How to Get the Windows 10 Anniversary Update Now How to Get the Windows 10 Anniversary Update Now Windows 10 is receiving a major upgrade this month. The Anniversary Update is rolling out slowly. We show you how to upgrade now, how to delay the upgrade, and which pitfalls to watch out for. Read More , also known as Anniversary Update. In other words, Windows 10 support will never expire, as long as you keep upgrading to the latest version. This is a major step forward in terms of the longterm security of Windows systems.

Unfortunately, Windows Update has a bad reputation This Is Why We Hate Windows Update This Is Why We Hate Windows Update The way Windows Update currently forces Windows 10 upgrades and updates on you is bad. Gavin examines what makes all of us hate Windows Update and what you can do against it. Read More . Updates have been known to introduce new issues or controversial features, such as the Get Windows 10 app. And so many users disabled Windows Update entirely. In Windows 10, turning off Windows Update 5 Ways to Temporarily Turn Off Windows Update in Windows 10 5 Ways to Temporarily Turn Off Windows Update in Windows 10 Windows Update keeps your system patched and safe. In Windows 10 you're at the mercy of Microsoft's schedule, unless you know hidden settings and tweaks. We'll help you keep Windows Update under control. Read More has become a lot harder.

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In an attempt to ease the blow, Microsoft has introduced a feature that will resolve at least one major frustration with Windows Update: random restarts. Windows 10 now lets you to set active hours, during which Windows Update will leave you alone.

Windows 10 Active Hours

To change the default settings, head to Settings (Windows key + I) > Update & security > Windows Update > Change active hours.

2. Windows Defender

First released as a standalone software for Windows XP, Windows Defender has been Microsoft’s default malware protection suite Windows Defender: 7 Things You Must Know About Microsoft's Antivirus Solution Windows Defender: 7 Things You Must Know About Microsoft's Antivirus Solution Is Microsoft's built-in security good enough? Microsoft continuously improves its security tools. We'll show you the upsides and downsides of Windows Defender in Windows 8, Read More since Windows 8. It offers anti-spyware and anti-virus protection with many standard features How to Use Windows Defender Malware Protection on Windows 10 How to Use Windows Defender Malware Protection on Windows 10 Like any Windows operating system, Windows 10 is open to abuse and vulnerable to online threats. Security software is mandatory. Windows Defender is a good place to start and we guide you through the setup. Read More , including real-time protection, exclusions, a quarantine for suspicious files, and offline scanning. When you install your own anti-malware suite, Windows Defender is disabled automatically.

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Since Windows 10 version 1607 10 New Tricks of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update You Must Try 10 New Tricks of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update You Must Try The Windows 10 Anniversary Update is chock full of new features, but many aren't immediately obvious. Here we have summarized subtle and hidden tips and tricks you should really try out! Read More (Anniversary Update), Windows Defender features Limited Periodic Scanning. This feature is a safety add-on for those who use a third party security suite. With this feature enabled, Windows Defender remains generally disabled, but will periodically scan for malware. This way, users can benefit from Microsoft’s crowd-sourced malware database and receive an additional layer of security.

windows defender periodic scanning

You can toggle Limited Periodic Scanning under Settings (Windows key + I) > Update & security > Windows Defender. Joel’s recent look at Windows Defender gives you plenty of reasons to consider it as your main security tool in Windows 10 in Windows 10.

3. Windows Hello

In Windows 10, you can sign in with a password, a PIN or a picture password How to Log Into Windows 10 With Finger Scans & Facial Recognition How to Log Into Windows 10 With Finger Scans & Facial Recognition Instead of using a password or PIN, you might be better off using fingerprint scans or facial recognition! But there are a few risks associated with them. Here's what you need to know. Read More . But that’s not all. With Windows Hello, your face, your iris, or your finger becomes your password.

Windows Hello’s biometric authentication requires Windows 10 ready hardware Best Windows 10 Ready Hardware & What It Means Best Windows 10 Ready Hardware & What It Means Some of Windows 10's new features require special hardware. We show you what to look out for and which devices best support Cortana, Windows Hello, and Continuum. Do you really need it? Up to you! Read More . The facial recognition based sign-in, for example, uses infrared technology, meaning your camera needs to have this capability. Only fingerprint readers are generally compatible.

To manage your secure login, go to Start > Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options. Here you can set up Windows Hello, change your account password, create a PIN, or add a picture password.

4. Secure Boot

Secure Boot is a feature of the UEFI BIOS What Is UEFI And How Does It Keep You More Secure? What Is UEFI And How Does It Keep You More Secure? Read More . When Secure Boot is enabled, only operating systems, kernels, and kernel modules that are signed with a recognized key can be executed at boot. This arrests BIOS malware, but also operating systems that don’t support Secure Boot.

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Secure Boot will be mandatory on future Windows 10 hardware Will Linux No Longer Work on Future Windows 10 Hardware? Will Linux No Longer Work on Future Windows 10 Hardware? Secure Boot can prevent some Linux distros from booting. On upcoming Windows 10 devices, manufacturers may remove the option to turn off Secure Boot. This will affect Linux Mint and several other popular distros. Read More , which might negatively affect unsigned Linux distros, like Linux Mint.

Microsoft built a backdoor for Secure Boot and unfortunately it recently leaked the “Golden Keys” that provide access.

5. Find My Device

Windows Phone may have ultimately failed, but Windows 10 has incorporated many of its better features, including this one. Find My Device uses the Windows location service to track the whereabouts of your device. Should you ever misplace, lose, or have your computer stolen, you can look up its location under your Microsoft account.

Find My Device

To set up this features, head to Settings > Update & security > Find My Device, and follow the instructions. You might have to enable the location service on Windows 10 (Settings > Privacy > Location) and sign in with your Microsoft account The Pros and Cons of Using a Microsoft Account with Windows The Pros and Cons of Using a Microsoft Account with Windows A single Microsoft Account allows you to log into a wide range of Microsoft services and apps. We show you the pros and cons of using a Microsoft Account with Windows. Read More .

6. Windows Store & Apps

At first sight, the Windows Store looks like a sales platform, which it is. But it’s also a potentially more secure resource for applications because all apps have to meet quality criteria. Microsoft has full control over what remains in the store and which apps are purged.

Moreover, Windows Store apps are sand-boxed, meaning they don’t automatically have access to your entire system. While you cannot selectively grant or deny permissions, you can choose not to install an app that requires inappropriate permissions.

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The downside is that Microsoft isn’t actively monitoring apps on the Windows Store and thus the responsibility to install only trustworthy apps remains with the user. To help you out, we have compiled some guidelines on how to identify apps you can trust in the Windows Store How to Find Apps You Can Trust in the Windows Store How to Find Apps You Can Trust in the Windows Store Microsoft's app store is better than its reputation, but you'll still run into scam, fake, and insecure apps. We'll show you how to identify an app's trustworthiness. Read More .

7. BitLocker Encryption

BitLocker is an encryption tool 10 Simple Windows Tricks You're Missing Out On 10 Simple Windows Tricks You're Missing Out On You use your computer day-in day-out. You better not waste time! There's much more to Windows than first meets the eye and we're here to show you its full potential. Read More available for Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise editions. BitLocker can secure files in an encrypted container or encrypt entire system or data drives, both internal and external.

Like Windows Defender, BitLocker has been around for a while and thus it still lives in the Windows Control Panel. To manage drive encryption, press Windows key + Q, search for BitLocker, and select Manage BitLocker from the results. You will see a list of your drives and whether BitLocker is turned on or off. You can manually save a copy of your BitLocker Recovery Keys or backed up to your Microsoft account online.

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When you enable BitLocker, you can set a password or choose to use a smart card to unlock the drive.

BitLocker Encryption

To create encrypted containers, search for encryption and select Manage file encryption certificates from the results. Here you can use the Encrypting File System (EFS) to create a file encryption certificate and associated files and folders you would like to encrypt with it.

Encryption File System

Neither BitLocker (Windows Vista) nor EFS (Windows XP) are new to Windows 10, but until now, Microsoft hasn’t (needed to) come up with modern encryption alternatives TrueCrypt Is Dead: 4 Disk Encryption Alternatives For Windows TrueCrypt Is Dead: 4 Disk Encryption Alternatives For Windows Read More .

Enterprise Security Features

Windows 10 Enterprise comes with additional security features.

  • Windows Hello for Business includes two-factor authentication (formerly known as Microsoft Passport), which is tied to a device and a biometric PIN.
  • Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection can detect and protect systems from sophisticated attacks.

  • Device Guard allows administrators to lock down devices and allow only trusted applications to be installed, which will automatically block all unsigned apps, including malware.
  • Credential Guard can isolate “secrets” using virtualization-based security and restrict access to privileged system software.
  • Virtual Secure Mode, a Hyper-V container that protects domain credentials saved on Windows.

In addition, Microsoft is building partnerships with OEMs like HP, allowing them to build their own security applications for the Windows platform. Likewise, Bromium, a virtualization startup, has developed a method called micro-virtualization, which uses hardware-based micro virtual machines to isolate unknown processes from the underlying operating system.

Stay Safe with Windows 10

Windows 10 is Microsoft’s most secure operating system to date. A constant release of security patches, feature updates, and version upgrades will keep it that way. Nevertheless, for a near-complete protection we recommend that you use use third party security software What Security Software Should You Be Using in Windows 10? What Security Software Should You Be Using in Windows 10? Despite being bundled with its own security tool, Windows 10 needs additional software to keep your data secure and make your online experiences safe. But which security software should you choose for WIndows 10? Read More and common sense 4 Security Misconceptions That You Need To Realize Today 4 Security Misconceptions That You Need To Realize Today There is a lot of malware and online security misinformation online, and following these myths can be dangerous. If you've taken any as truth, it's time to get the facts straight! Read More .

Over to you! Which security features are you missing in Windows 10 and how could existing ones be improved? We’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

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